Amsterdam Not So Dope Anymore, Plans in Motion to Ban Cannabis Smoking for Tourists By End of Year

Amsterdam is extinguishing their famed tolerance for marijuana smoking. While they aren’t banning pot smoking entirely, the Dutch Cabinet will be limiting coffee shops to 1,500 memberships. The idea is the coffee shops will have to choose their regular customers over tourists for membership slots.

The best memories I never had were in Amsterdam. If you haven’t been I suggest you put your bong down, wipe the neon orange from your fingertips, get off the couch slowly so you don’t spill bong water all over your floor,  and book yourself a ticket ASAP.

Once you book your ticket write it on a post-it, and stick it to your bong–immediately–so you don’t forget.

Classic Amsterdam, Trip in 2003

According to the Associated Press:

The Dutch Cabinet says it will push ahead with plans to force anyone wishing to purchase marijuana at the country’s weed cafes to first obtain an official pass — a move designed to curtail tourists from buying the drug.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte says he plans to begin rolling out the system in the country’s south later this year, an area popular with French and German buyers, before moving on to Amsterdam’s famed tourist cafes later in his term.

Justice Ministry spokesman Wim van der Weegen said Friday the supreme court must still rule on whether foreigners can be blocked entirely.

Regardless, he said the plan will prevent cafes from issuing more than 1,500 permits in all, forcing shop owners to choose between tourists and their regular customers.

Reading material left in our hotel room, Amsterdam 2003

Ban, or no ban,  the rest of the world could definitely take a queue from the Netherlands on their harm reduction drug policy. Wikipedia sums the Netherlands drug policy, ever so nicely:

The drug policy of the Netherlands officially has five major objectives:

  1. To prevent recreational drug use and to treat and rehabilitate recreational drug users.
  2. To reduce harm to users.
  3. To diminish public nuisance by drug users (the disturbance of public order and safety in the neighbourhood).
  4. To combat the production and trafficking of recreational drugs.[1]

Most policymakers in the Netherlands believe that if a problem has proved to be unsolvable, it is better to try controlling it and reducing harm instead of continuing to enforce laws with mixed results. By contrast, most other countries take the point of view that recreational drug use is detrimental to society and must therefore be outlawed. This has caused friction between the Netherlands and other countries about the policy for cannabis, most notably with France and Germany. As of 2004, Belgium seems to be moving toward the Dutch model and a few local German legislators are calling for experiments based on the Dutch model. Switzerland has had long and heated parliamentary debates about whether to follow the Dutch model on cannabis, most recently deciding against it in 2004; currently a ballot initiative is in the works on the question. In the last few years certain strains of cannabis with higher concentrations of THC and drug tourism have challenged the current policy and led to a re-examination of the current approach; for eg. ban of all sales of cannabis to tourist in coffee shops from end of 2011[2][3]

While the legalization of cannabis remains controversial, the introduction of heroin-assisted treatment in 1998 has been lauded for considerably improving the health and social situation of opiate-dependent patients in the Netherlands.[4] In 2010 research shows that the “heroin-junkies” have disappeared from the streets of the Netherlands and the treatment is upgraded from a test-trial to standard treatment for otherwise untreatable addicts. Also, the number of heroin addicts has dropped by more than 30% since 1983.[citation needed]

Pass the Dutchie…Wait Dutchies, don’t pass this ban!!!

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